Author: Viki Lyn
[xrr rating= 2/5]
Vacationing at a gay resort is risky business for Winter Media’s CEO, Graham Winters. In negotiations for the purchase of an anti-LGBTQ publication, if found out he preferred men, the deal would collapse, along with Winter Media’s bottom line. But take a risk, Graham does. He can’t pass up two weeks where he can be himself.
But when Graham arrives at Secretus, there is no record of his reservation. Never one to take no for an answer, he coerces the owner of Secretus, Chris Katsaros, to let him stay in Chris’s home.
Winter Media owns one of the worst gossip rags in the country, so Chris has no choice but to agree to Graham’s terms. Chris keeps a low profile when it comes to Secretus, securing a safe environment where high profile gays can relax without media hounding their every move. An introvert by nature, Chris has a difficult time letting anyone into his life. As a foster kid, he had never experienced love until adopted by Pete and Bob.
Forced to entertain Graham, Chris finds they have more in common than he ever thought. The attraction between them is real, and Chris’s guarded heart begins to thaw.
I sat for two days at a loss for words as to how to start this review, so I decided to dive right in and say it’s light on plot and execution and heavy on insta-love and sex. There’s a lot of sex. A lot. Sex instead of love in most instances or sex used to declare love. But wait! These men are enemies. And neither changes his beliefs about the crux of the matter that divides them, which is that Chris supports gay rights in deed as much as word, and Graham owns businesses which not only spout anti-gay gossip, but actively work against gay-rights. These basic tenants are not ever really resolved, except through an accidental outing of Graham through one of his own gossip rags. But even then, he’s not suddenly against his family’s media empire.
Nevertheless, the two “fall in love” aka “in lust” after Graham pursues and bullies Chris until he gives in. And when Graham’s vacation at Chris’s gay resort comes to a close, Chris decides that he’ll do the noble thing and bow out of Graham’s life. Not that he tells Graham this. He simply ignores Graham’s texts—very 20th century damsel in distress romance novelish. It’s not until Graham does a noble gesture and Chris’s friends convince him to seek Graham out that he gets his head out of his whatever and goes after him—still angsting in his head all the way across country and deciding at the last minute that maybe he’s not good enough. The author provided a background which would allow me to stretch my imagination and convince myself that he really might feel this way, but she also provided life experiences for him that contradicts this behavior. So, which to believe? Hmm. He runs a huge establishment and he’s very anal about it. Why would he be so wishy-washy? I guess I’d better stop here, or I’ll talk myself into a lower rating.
Overall, I’d say it was okay, but the plot wasn’t original and the writing was not polished. It’s also quite full of gratuitous sex scenes. I simply believe that in real life, gay men are not thinking like female damsels in distress, and when they do fall in love with someone they meet, regardless of where it is or what their life circumstances, their behavior as a couple is likely to be more loving and demonstrative than shown by the couple in this story.
I’m also hoping that this copy is an ARC, since there were so many word errors in the story—not just misspellings, but incorrect word use. I won’t mark down for it, but it certainly pulled me out of the story when it happened.